Art and Experience:

The 65th BFI London Film Festival, which concluded Oct. 17, attracted crowds for in-person events and virtually. The festival unspooled over 12 days across London venues, 10 partner cinema venues around the U.K. and online. There were more than 139,000 physical attendances at screenings and events and over 152,000 virtual attendances.

The festival closed with the European premiere of “The Tragedy of Macbeth” at new festival venue, the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall with director Joel Coen and key cast, including Frances McDormand, in attendance.

There was a sting in the tail, however, as two people who attended the closing film and after party tested positive for COVID-19, compelling the BFI to send letters to attendees informing them about this. The positive tests came as no surprise as the U.K. is experiencing a dramatic surge in cases currently.

 

 

The array of celebrities who attended the festival in person included Jay Z, Beyonce, Idris Elba, Regina King, George Clooney, Todd Haynes, Dakota Johnson, Corey Hawkins, Liam Payne, Matt Smith, Edgar Wright, Jamie Dornan, Caitrona Balfe, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Murray, Jarvis Cocker, Virgine Efira, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sandra Oh, Olivia Colman, Josh O’Connor, Jessie Buckley, Judi Dench, Brian Cox, Sarah Snook, Riz Ahmed, Kirsten Dunst, Ruth Negga, Rebecca Hall and Regé-Jean Page.

“Of course there were still major challenges but we brought the best of 2020 into our model, presenting physically, digitally, U.K.-wide and internationally,” said festival director Tricia Tuttle.

CASTING

Apple Chan, who appeared in Jack Neo’s 2017 film “Ah Boys To Men 4” and Xixi Lim, will be joined by social media influencer Samantha Tan, model Shirli LingFarah Farook and beauty contestant Eswari Gunasagar in “Ah Girls Go Army” as Singapore’s most commercially successful director Neo gives his military-comedy franchise a female skew. Many of the new recruits were called up via an online casting session. The film, produced by Neo’s J Team Productions and mm2 Entertainment, is set for delivery in less than four months, by Chinese New Year 2022. – Patrick Frater

DEGREE

The Busan International Film Festival‘s newly launched film studies program, BIFF Film Academy (BFA), is Korea’s first film degree education program established by a film festival. The program’s structure offers a convergence degree approach that links its curriculum with film industry networks and platforms of the festival. The program consists of three degrees – Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate. The program is operated in conjunction with the Im Kwon Taek College of Arts and Film at Dongseo University, which has been a partner of the Asian Film Academy for years.

The BFA program begins its first semester in March 2022, and admissions for the first graduating class are underway with a late November 2021 deadline for applications.

Source: Variety